Apostolic Experience Publishing, $5.99
Evacuated is Kevin J Bates’s recollections of his experiences, thoughts, and feelings during the first 15 days after Hurricane Katrina destroyed much of Mississippi in 2005. Mr Bates and 20 of his family members are stuck in a three-bedroom house during this time. All his thoughts, observations, and rumination fill this short little book.
When it comes to the content, it is a raw and difficult read at first. Despite the narrative being riddled with noticeable errors (“passed” when it should be “past”, for example), Evacuation is initially a very well-drawn and gripping insight into Mr Bates’ head during those 15 days. Confusion, fear, and religious doubts boil and bubble as Mr Bates tries to find hope and make sense of the devastation. Mr Bates also observe as these 15 days bring out the best as well as the worst in humanity. Throughout it all, he tries to find strength in the God he believes in.
While initially this is a sobering and gut-wrenching read, eventually the religious elements overwhelm the narrative, resulting in often melodramatic and even over the top scenes. I begin to get this sneaking suspicion that the author has stopped telling me about what happened and instead started preaching to me about God.
Still, who knows, maybe some readers will find comfort in this short book. Personally, however, I feel that the minuses of Evacuated – rambling stream of consciousness style of writing, many errors, and the tendency of the author to get on the pulpit and address the reader as if he’s delivering the word of God with all the subtlety of a gravel on the head – far outweigh the pluses.